Chez Cliché, Vienna, Austria
Not quite AirBnB, not quite Couchsurfing, this new concept focuses on renting out fully-furnished apartments in Vienna (they hope to expand to other parts of Europe soon). They're themed to represent the "homes" of fictional characters. Our favorite, "Belle" is the duplex of a fictional "flight attendant" who's never home, but her apartment (10 minutes from the Danube) is filled with trinkets from her global travels.
Then there's former ex-jockey "Raul's" flat, all decked out in wood, leather and saddles. Each piece was hand-picked by the company's young group of interior designers, so there's a hodgepodge of high-end tech gadgets and flea market finds. Plus, we love that Chez Cliché's hospitality team will meet you at the apartment, hand you your keys, give you the lay of the space, and leave you with a bottle of wine (ooh, yeah) and a semi-stocked fridge in your full kitchen with local treats.
Oh, and your "host" leaves tons of tips from his/her fave restaurants to nearby markets you may want to explore. It's the closest to feeling like a local!
Rates begin at €169 ($219) depending on which "home" you choose.
angelo Hotel Munich Westpark, Germany
This 207-room, four-star hotel opened a few months ago in Munich's Sendling district. So, you're fantastically near plenty of public transport, the Mittlerer Ring, the popular Marienplatz square, and Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest is held. Full of color (check the yellows and reds in the rooms) and modern design (plus the free WiFi), this latest outpost of the Europe-wide angelo brand is built for those straddling the business/leisure guest role.
Have a hearty breakfast at Sunlight, and in the evening, a lager at lobby bar Jazz--where color now takes form of B&W photos of music greats.
Rates are way scattered from €78($101)in May and July and inch up to €132 ($171) in August. June rates are the highest though, topping out at €267 ($347). The lesson? Be flexible and you're sure to get a deal.
[Photos: Anwar Mekhayech/Chanize for HotelChatter/Vi Hotel Management]